Responsive web design affects your website’s SEO – 4 top reasons why

by | May 21, 2018

Today we all know that we live in a totally disconnected world, by that we don’t mean that people aren’t connecting anyone, simply that people do everything now on their smart devices. We’re no longer tied to a desk, people can browse on the tube, buy clothes whilst watching the TV and check on their social media whilst eating dinner. Mobile internet use is here to stay – we couldn’t live without our little device wedged in our palms 24/7. Like it or not responsive web design is here for good.

It’s staggering that many companies still don’t have a responsive web design. This is crazy considering mobile internet usage is increasing year on year.

Responsive web design should be a major part of your SEO planning and strategy

Responsive web design is nothing new because it’s been around for years, if your site isn’t optimised for viewing on a tablet, mobile phone or small screen then you’re missing out big time. Responsive web design should be a major part of your SEO planning and strategy.

In the last few years the use of mobile devices for using the internet has surpassed traditional desktop PC usage.

Google and other search engines now look at responsiveness as being a major factor in whether your website will be shown in search engine rankings on a mobile device. Search engines are built for users, so if your website isn’t user friendly (mobile responsive) then you’re in trouble. If your site doesn’t offer a good user experience (UX) then Google will favour other sites which do.

It’s important, very important!

Does responsive web design really affect your SEO and how?

The answer is undoubtedly yes because having a non responsive web design will affect your SEO. We’ll tell you the reasons why you should take it extremely seriously.

It’s been stated that the majority of businesses still don’t have a responsive web design which is simply mind-blowing considering the above. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, then talk to a quality web designer, they should be able to advise you on the best course of action and how to get this sorted ASAP.

If you’re still unconvinced that responsive web design is important to your business read on.

Here are the top four reasons why!

1. Responsive Web Design Will Increase Website Page Speed.

Many factors that affect SEO are still a mystery and always will be. Google holds many cards to its chest. One factor that all online marketing guru’s and SEO experts agree on is, how fast a web page loads will affect your website’s ranking.

All websites should aim to be as optimised to load as fast as possible to help your website search engine results page (SERP). The continuing message from Google is that it will love a fast loading site over one that is slow and sluggish.

This is one of the main reasons that responsive web design is imperative. If your site isn’t optimised to work great on mobile devices, it will probably load slower than a site that is.

The reason being, as we said earlier, Google and search engines are built for the user. Slow loading sites aren’t great for a user, so you don’t have to be Einstein to do the math.

Websites that are designed and built to be mobile responsive will load faster on smart devices. This will give boost a to your SEO and website ranking on mobile searches.

2. Website Visitors Will Get a Better User Experience with Responsive Web Design

As we have mentioned a few times before, search engines aim to provide the best results to web user searches. By having a website that is mobile responsive will mean that your navigation will be easy and a joy for a user to use.

If it’s not responsive, your site will likely offer a bad user experience. Hence, they will feel like the search engine has given them a bad result. This will mean that search engines will prefer not to offer your site in results as the user experience on a smart device could be cumbersome.

Furthermore, Google also uses ‘time on page’ and ‘bounce rate’ that visitors produce on your website as a key factor of how ‘good’ your page is to the search conducted. Responsive web design will make a visitor have a much better experience on your site, meaning they will probably stay and browse more. This glowing reflection of how a user reacts to your site is a very important indicator to Google on just how great your site is.

Having a positive mobile responsive web design is a fundamental step to keeping a user happy, meaning your site will keep Google happy – which is a good thing!

How well a website works on a mobile device can’t be over exaggerated. SEO companies and businesses alike, must stay on top of all elements that contribute to a customer’s experience. Web traffic numbers, website reviews, bounce rate, time on site, social media activity etc are all major signals to Google on how good your business is. It will also use these to understand more about who you are and why offer your website in results above your competitors.

Visitor experience and your customers journeys are what will make your business succeed online and being mobile responsive is the foundation to all of this.

Responsive web design will make social media much easier for your visitors

3. Responsive web design will make social media much easier for your visitors

Responsive website design means that a site will be built to make it as easy as possible for sharing in social media. Although social media can help with SEO, the number of shares directly won’t affect your websites ranking but it can help grow your online presence and audience.

A larger social media pool to dip into can mean more traffic to your website and more engagement. Going back to point two, the more positive activity on your site the better the signals to google, the more it will reward you.

Not having a website designed responsively will mean mobile device users are going to be much less inclined to click that elusive like or share button.

4. Responsive web design will lead to a lower bounce rate

The first step is to understand what exactly a bounce rate is. It’s basically a time indicator that Google uses for how quickly someone goes to your website and either clicks ‘back’ or leaves entirely. Think of it this way, if you had a physical shop, it’s the time that a customer steps over your shop doorway. The time they are in your shop and leave again is what your bounce rate is.

This is an important behavioural signal to Google. Using the above example. If someone enters your shop, scans what you have and leaves quicker than butter dripping off a hot knife would signal to Google you’re not that great or not what they were looking for (high bounce rate). Reversely, someone comes in, spends loads of time browsing and then leaves (low bounce rate), indicates you’re a good fit for the original search.

Applying this ‘bounce rate’ to responsive web design is the same. If your website is responsive then chances are that if your content on your site is good people will stay. Having a non responsive web design with a slow load speed and bad user experience (points 1 and 2) will dramatically increase your bounce rate.

But why is website bounce rate important?

Google likes to make sure its results make searchers happy and that they have got what they are looking for. One of the most bulletproof methods it has is to understand how happy you are with the results it offered you.

And how does it do this?

Yup you guessed it… bounce rate. Taking the above example a step further, you ask Google to “find me a shop which sells red jumpers online”. Google suggests shop A and shop B. You enter shop A and you have hundreds of red jumpers available. Chances are you’ll spend time looking around meaning the shop will get a low bounce rate and a higher user time. A big thumbs up to Google that it provided exactly what you wanted.

You then enter shop B, which sells all black jumpers. Not what you wanted, so you leave within seconds. This would cause this shop to have a high bounce rate. A big thumbs down, Google got it wrong as you’re not happy with the result it gave you. In time Google will assume shop B is a bad fit for Red Jumpers and not offer it in SERP

A very simplistic example, but, it allows Google to learn what is a good result and what isn’t.

So, you can probably see responsive web design will lead to lower bounce rates as your site will be faster, easy to navigate and offer a great user experience. If you compare that to viewing a non responsive designed website on a smart device which offers the opposite will increase the bounce rate. Therefore, responsive web design equals lower bounce rates on smart devices hence the SEO benefit.

How to correctly build a responsive web design

You need a professional web designer‘s help to do this. However, the best way to approach this is to first work on creating a great desktop version of the website.

We know we have talked about responsive web design as being vital, however desktop and laptop viewing are just as important. Your desktop website will be the complete picture of your business online and include every element and every little bit of text and content that a visitor will be able to access.

Once this is done, it’s time to look at the responsive version. It should be a stripped-down version of the main website and include the very best of your main ‘desktop’ version. It should be fully customised for user experience, speed and content.

A good web designer will be able to offer you advice on making sure your website is built perfectly and fully optimised for all screen sizes. Most importantly, once built and launched you need to stay on top of your website analytics and figures. This will help you understand where your website is and how to improve your SEO going forward.

Please feel free to share this article if you have found it of benefit.

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